“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”
So here’s a guilty secret I have: I thrive, absolutely shine, on the positive feedback I get from others. If my bosses want me to do well all they have to do is tell me what they like about my work. I can be carried for weeks on that little bit of affirmative attention. Tell me I’m beautiful? I’m putty in your hands.
And yet one area of my life in which I realize this has become much less important is my health. Sure, I like it when my husband notices my shoulder muscles, or comments that he likes watching my legs during cycling season. Who wouldn’t like to hear that? But that’s just icing on the cake.
My husband laughs at me because I like to go to the gym when I think none of my clients or class members will be there. He jokingly says I’m trying to escape the paparazzi. In reality, what I’m giving myself is time with me. It’s time that the only person I am looking after is myself, and the only person I need to answer to is me. I hardly notice what others are doing there. I turn my focus inward and laser in on what my body needs to become a better machine. What are my feet doing as I run on the treadmill? What’s my alignment like as I do ham curls on the ball? Am I getting my gluts wrapped and my abs up as I swing that kettlebell? And when I’m done, I’m the one who’s satisfied with myself. I know from the inside out what I did for myself during that session. And for someone who once begged tearfully to be released from P.E., that self-satisfaction can’t be topped by bragging about my workout to get approval from someone else.
What about you? Do you love yourself enough that you are what motivates you to get your workout done? Do you log your workouts on beachbodycoach.com/teammona so you can show them off, or so you can look at all those colored squares on your workout calendar with self-pride? Try this experiment: only log your workouts for the coming two weeks but don’t tell anyone about them. Turn off the T.V. and put away the magazine at the gym, tell your workout buddy that you’re going to be a little quiet, and just focus on YOU. Let me know at the end of those two weeks what your state of mind is. You should find yourself feeling mentally sharper, physically stronger, and holistically more capable.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT saying abandon your workout buddies. A support group for your health goals is super helpful! But if you are encouraging each other, give specific encouragement. For example, if you are sharing that you did three sets of squats, tell your buddies not just that the squats killed you, but that they killed you because you focused so much on proper alignment. If your friend had a great ride, ask them what made it so great? Being able to do intervals? Keeping their cadence up? Specific and thoughtful praise for yourself and others makes it more meaningful and honest.
Try my two week experiment. See if you can do right for your body, for you. Because in the end, though there may be others who will benefit from your good health, it’s still in your hands.
It’s gratifying when your hard efforts toward improving your health are noticed by others. Can you be as gratified when only YOU notice?